This is going to come as little consolation, but here’s what the Cavaliers and Raptors got out of the sign-and-trade deals that ripped away their franchise players and formed one of the most powerful triumvirates in the league. Via ESPN:
The Raptors got the 2011 first round pick they traded to Miami, as well as the Heat’s own inevitably-20-plus draft pick. So basically, two first rounders and a trade exception for the top power forward free agent on the market. That said, it’s exactly what Toronto needed. They needed cap space, flexibility, and draft picks. It’s the modern rebuilding three-course meal.
The Raps now have to find a way to move one of their remaining huge contracts, preferably Bargnani or Hedo Turkoglu, not an easy task. They have to go through the same rebuilding pains as Memphis and Sacramento. But if they play their cards right, in two years they might be able to be back in contention.
Or, they can tank and possibly get Harrison Barnes next year and this whole thing starts over again.
The Cavaliers get the Heat’s first-round picks in 2013 and 2015, and the option to swap in 2012. If you’re wondering about the odd years, there’s a rule that says teams can’t trade their first round picks in consecutive years.
(As a side note, the fact that teams have to have rules to prevent them from doing potentially crushingly stupid deals does not speak to the owners’ perspective that the problem with the system is the system and not their own idiocy.)
The Cavs are in a similar situation, but if they really want to get back into the hunt, they have movable players with talent. They should hold a firesale, move ’em all. Move Jamison, Mo Williams, Deltonte West. Keep J.J. Hickson and Daniel Gibson, start over. They won’t. But that’s what they should do. Don’t make Cleveland sit through multiple years of suffering with the pain of not seeing James alongside his former teammates. Get it over with, get a high draft pick, and start over. This can be done.
But man, is it going to hurt.